Wrapping up Patriots-Jets, new era for Sox starts today

Although it wasn’t pretty, a win is a win, and the Patriots are now in first place in the AFC East despite having many flaws. The main concern for me surprisingly is not the secondary, it’s the offenses inability to close out games. For the third time in six games, the Patriots blew a two possession lead in the fourth quarter. In each of these  games the offense has had the chance to first make it a three possession game over the course of the game, and then having possession of the ball with around five minutes to play and a one possession lead, but have given the ball right back to their opponent fairly quickly, failing to produce a good drive when it matters most.

There is no question the secondary is bad, but there isn’t going to be a drastic turnaround. On the other hand, the offense is one of the most prolific in the league. There is no excuse for failing to put teams away, and struggling with their four-minute offense. A lot of this has to with the Patriots not having an idenity on offense. Tom Brady was asked about it and he said he didn’t really know either. This is not good when it’s Week 6 and you still don’t know your idenity on offense. The Patriots are messing too much with the run. They are a built to be a passing offense. Line up four or five wide with Brady in the shotgun and let him pick defenses apart, stop messing with a running game, especially in key situations.

For full Patriots coverage visit Patriotslinks.com.

It’s their biggest concern- Shalise Manza Young says giving up big plays is the biggest issue for the Patriots.

Patriot report card- Ron Borges hands out his grades for Week 7.

Patriots must keep pace fast- Jeff Howe says the team is at their best in the no-huddle.

McDaniels keeps seeking consistency- Tom E. Curran looks at the Patriots offensive play-calling.

The Red Sox are set to introduce their new manager John Farrell today with a press conference at Fenway scheduled for Noon. Unlike last year, the Red Sox got their number one choice. Only time will tell if it was the correct move, and the organization better hope it was because they certainly passed on some very worthy candidates. For the record, I do believe Farrell was the right guy for the job as he has the ability to change the pitching staff around, which is the key to the 2013 Red Sox.

John Farrell isn’t more pf the same for Sox- Chad Finn has the Farrell hiring being the right move.

Best job ever- Gerry Callahan says Farrell cannot do any worse than the job Bobby Valentine did.

No comes hard part for Red Sox- Peter Abraham looks at hardest part of the off-season being rebuilding the team.

Red Sox can expect Farrell to understand team, city- Sean McAdam has Farrell’s familiarity with Boston will do him well.

Pitching Farrell: New manager’s most pressing task is obvious- Alex Speier says Farrell will need to turnaround the teams’ pitching staff right away.

Patriots Suffer Worst Win of Brady/Belichick Era, Sox Get Their Man

The Patriots did manage to win the football game yesterday, though it surely won’t seem like it for much of this week, as once again they couldn’t hold onto a fourth quarter lead, and instead appeared to hand the game to the New York Jets when Devin McCourty fumbled a kickoff return with two minutes remaining. The Patriots managed to rally, getting a game-tying field goal from Stephen Gostkowski as time expired in regulation, and a game winning field goal in overtime (do those count as “clutch” kicks, or not?) and the defense made a big play in overtime to seal the game for the Patriots.

This team has some prominent flaws, and at times you scratch your head at the play calling (I don’t know about you, but I didn’t anticipate pining for the days of Bill O’Brien – and that’s no knock on O’Brien.) and execution, but in the end they got the win, an important division win, and that’s the most important thing at this point.

Don’t Let the W Fool You – Bill Barnwell disagrees, saying that if you’re a Patriots fan, you are required to panic right now. Thanks, I’ll hold off on that.

Win over Jets exposes flaw Pats will need to overcome – Tom E Curran says that what the Jets were able to do yesterday should be of concern.

Patriots defense still a concern – Even the steady Mike Reiss can hardly contain his fret over the Patriots defensive woes.

Late execution is killing them – On the other side of the ball, Greg A Bedard says that the four-minute offense needs to improve for the Patriots.

Clutch beats good every time – If you’re looking for a positive, Bill Burt notes that while the Patriots weren’t very good yesterday, they were clutch, and clutch is what wins Super Bowls.

What we learned Sunday: A win is a win, but questions remain – Christopher Price looks beyond the easy takeaways at a few deeper points we can glean from this game.

Thankfully, this is a Red Sox town. (or so I’m told repeatedly.) Instead of hearing endlessly about the Patriots fatal flaws, we’ll hear about the Red Sox new manager, and the rebuilding project Ben Cherington faces this offseason. Right?

Late Saturday night, news broke that the Red Sox and Blue Jays had come to an agreement to allow John Farrell to come to Boston to manage the Red Sox.

While some seem to be down on this move, (Nick Cafardo is heartbroken) I’ve got no problem with it all. If you want any shot of unity in the clubhouse, you need to have it between the manager and front office. Farrell is a smart guy who was worked in both the front office and on the field, and from all accounts commands respect.

I don’t think the Red Sox are going to turn around immediately. Right now this is a team and organization stripped of talent. Their biggest advantage is money, and while there aren’t the type of franchise free agents out there this offseason that can make a team – and haven’t we seen that might not be the way to go anyway – the franchise has the ability to make moves by taking on salary in trades.

Ben Cherington’s neck is on the line – Gordon Edes says that now that Farrell is in the fold, the GM has to deliver.

Pitching Farrell: New manager’s most pressing task is obvious – Alex Speier looks at job #1 for John Farrell as he takes over the Red Sox.

Jays GM no fan of Red Sox games – Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos isn’t happy with the leaks to the media that he feels the Red Sox put out there to gain an advantage in the Farrell talks.

The Celtics wrapped up their preseason schedule, and now prepare to face Ray Allen (who seemingly won’t stop talking about how the Celtics disrespected and evicted him) and the Heat next week in the season opener.

Sizing up the C’s at the end of the preseason – A. Sherrod Blakely looks at where the Celtics stand.

Meet the new and improved Jeff Green – Paul Flanney looks at the impressive preseason by the Celtics forward.

Bird’s Rookie Year – Game Five vs Pacers

Justin Barrasso will be perusing the box scores of the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird years, starting with Bird’s rookie year in 1979-1980. The opportunity to reconnect with the Bird era is always fun, especially during his early years in the league. We’ll be posting the box score as well as some commentary each game day as we re-visit the ’79-’80 season. Enjoy.

Celtics (4-0) vs. Pacers (2-3)
Saturday, October 20
Market Square Arena

In 1979, the Indiana Pacers were still a relative newcomer to the National Basketball Association.  Entering just their fourth season since the NBA merged with the American Basketball Association, the one-time ABA stalwart was still in search of its first winning season in the NBA.  The Pacers were one of two teams, along with the Kentucky Colonels, who were able to stay in existence for all nine ABA seasons (1967-1976) without folding, relocating, or changing team names.  This is particularly impressive considering that the Pacers are still in operation.

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Bird’s Rookie Year – Game Four vs Bullets

We’re always looking to add to the site here at BSMW, and I am hopeful you enjoy this new feature. Justin Barrasso will be perusing the box scores of the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird years, starting with Bird’s rookie year in 1979-1980. The opportunity to reconnect with the Bird era is always fun, especially during his early years in the league. We’ll be posting the box score as well as some commentary each game day as we re-visit the ’79-’80 season. Enjoy.

Celtics (3-0) vs. Bullets (1-2)
Friday, October 19
Boston Garden

The Celtics, wrapping up a brief two game homestand (and having played three of their opening four at the Garden), faced off against the Washington Bullets on this Friday night thirty-three years ago on 150 Causeway Street.

The Bullets were among the finalists for the Eastern Conference’s Team of the Decade in the ‘70s, appearing in four NBA Finals and winning one.  They won the East (as Baltimore) in ’71, then again as Washington in ’75.  Washington broke through and won the championship in ’78, but lost in a Finals rematch to the Super Sonics in ’79.

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Patriots-Jets rivalry not the same

With both the Patriots and Jets going into Sunday’s game at 3-3 and tied atop the AFC East standings, just a few years ago this game would be the talk of both huge media markets, and a must-see-game on television, especially with Jets coach Rex Ryan running the show. But, things just aren’t that way this time around — it’s just another regular season game.

There isn’t much of a rivalry between the teams anymore. The Patriots have won three straight division titles (the three year’s Ryan has been head coach), and also nine of the last ten. While the two teams come in with the same record, there is no denying the two are not in the same category. The Patriots have one of, if not the best offense in football, while the Jets are still searching for an identity and have a quarterback in Mark Sanchez who has a completion rating of 49.7 this season. The continuous story line with the Jets this year has been when Tim Tebow will take over as quarterback and making matters worse, the team has been depleted by injuries. The Jets are a mess, and have no business beating the Patriots on Sunday.

Even if the Jets weren’t playing good football on the field, there was always Ryan running his mouth, but even that has gone away. When he first came to the Jets, Ryan was always good for a bulletin board post for the Patriots, like in 2009 when he said, “I never came here to kiss Bill Belichick’s, you know, rings. I came to win. Let’s just put it that way. So we’ll see what happens. I’m certainly not intimidated by New England or anybody else. . . .” Then came him guaranteeing wins and Super Bowl’s, none of which have come true. Ryan’s act just isn’t working anymore and he knows it. Both the New York and Boston media baited him in his press conferences this week to say something sound bite worthy, but he wasn’t going for it. Even the man who once fueled the rivalry, wants no part in it right now.

Simply, the Patriots aren’t on the same level as the other teams as the rest of the AFC East, even with all four teams with 3-3 records. It’s not as much the Patriots getting better, more of the rest of the division getting worse. No one has been able to challenge the Patriots in the division, as it seems the Patriots have wrapped up division titles in early-mid December every year. Sunday’s game had the ability to be one of the most hyped Patriots-Jets games in recent years with both teams looking to seize control of the division, but with the Jets inconsistent and at times poor play, along with Ryan’s new, subdued attitude it should be just another regular season division game.

For full Patriots coverage visit, Patriotslinks.com.

Patriots’ losses are rest of AFC East’s gain- Shalise Manza Young has the state of the AFC East, with Miami, Buffalo and New York each looking to capitalize on the Patriots’ poor start.

Jets’ Rex Ryan shows respect for Bill Belichick- Amalie Benjamin has a much more humble Rex Ryan than in the past.

Jets not in crisis- Jeff Howe looks at the Jets, and how they are still finding their identity, six weeks into the season.

How the Patriots and Jets continue to force each other to evolve- Christopher Price  looks at how the two teams sometimes build their rosters specifically for when they play one another.

Bird’s Rookie Year – Game Three vs Cavs

We’re always looking to add to the site here at BSMW, and I am hopeful you enjoy this new feature.  Justin Barrasso will be perusing the box scores of the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird years, starting with Bird’s rookie year in 1979-1980.  The opportunity to reconnect with the Bird era is always fun, especially during his early years in the league.  We’ll be posting the box score as well as some commentary each game day as we re-visit the ’79-’80 season.  Enjoy.

Celtics (2-0) vs. Cavaliers (1-2)
Wednesday, October 17
Boston Garden

In only the first week of the season, this matchup already featured two teams moving in completely opposite directions.  The Cavaliers, who languished near the bottom of the standings all season, came into Boston already under .500, while the Celtics were poised to make a statement to the league, but it wasn’t just the two teams that were moving in counter directions.  The game also pitted two of the NBA’s most recognizable superstars in Walt “Clyde” Frazier and Larry Bird.  Though Bird was only in the third game of his career, this marked the final game of Frazier’s storied career.

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More Patriots-Seahawks fallout

The Patriots suffered one of the worst losses in the Belichick-Brady era on Sunday to the Seahawks and as expected sports radio was blowing up on a number of topics Monday. Obviously the poor secondary play was the leading topic of discussion, but also being discussed was the trend of losing close games, Brady’s play, Belichick and the coaches needing to take more accountability on defense and then comments made by Seahawks players following the game, particularly defensive back Richard Sherman. (It should be noted one of the tweets has been removed from his account)

Many have over-reacted following the loss proclaiming what an average team the Patriots are, Brady and Belichick are losing their touch, etc. Taking a step back things are not as bad as they seem. The Patriots have lost three games, by a combined four points. This is not even close to a disaster, just a few plays in each game that need to be made to turn losses into wins. Their losses to the Cardinals, Ravens and Seahawks are not as bad as they look on paper as their combined record is 11-6. Most importantly, the AFC is wide open this year. There are only two teams with winning records (Ravens and Texans), and both of those teams have suffered season-ending injuries to their top defensive players. The Patriots will get better as the year goes on, playing their best football in December and will once again be there in the end.

For full Patriots coverage visit Patriotslinks.com.

Sure, man, whatever- Gerry Callahan looks at the post-game comments made by Anthony Sherman, a guy most people never even heard of until Sunday.

Patriots can’t cover flaws vs. Seahawks- Chad Finn says the Patriots once again struggled to close out their opponent on Sunday.

Patriots report card- Ron Borges has his grades for this week.

Patriots are now mired in mediocrity- Tony Massarotti says the Patriots aren’t anything special so far this year.

Patriots show trouble at the top- Mike Reiss says Belichick and Brady are largely to blame for the loss.

Tom Brady not to blame for Patriots’ struggles- Chris Gasper says it is not Brady’s fault, it’s on the secondary.

Why drafting and developing defensive backs continues to be a struggle for Patriots- Christopher Price looks at a major issue, which has hurt the Patriots over the recent years.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Chris Serino who lost his battle with cancer on Monday. Serino coached college hockey at both UNH and Merrimack followed by acting as both athletic director and hockey coach at Malden Catholic. He was one of the good guys and will certainly be missed.

Warrior Serino dead- John Connolly and Jim Clark have an outstanding piece on the late coach.

 

Bird’s Rookie Year – Game Two vs Cavs

We’re always looking to add to the site here at BSMW, and I am hopeful you enjoy this new feature.  Justin Barrasso will be perusing the box scores of the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird years, starting with Bird’s rookie year in 1979-1980.  The opportunity to reconnect with the Bird era is always fun, especially during his early years in the league.  We’ll be posting the box score as well as some commentary each game day as we re-visit the ’79-’80 season.  Enjoy.

Celtics vs. Cavaliers

October 13, 1979

Saturday – Cleveland Coliseum

Thirty-three years ago today, Larry Bird recorded his first 20-point game in the NBA.  The Cavs, led by new coach Stan Albeck, the Cavs had no answer for Bird, who poured in 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting as the new-look Celtics won again, 139-117.

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Bird’s Rookie Year – Game One vs Rockets

We’re always looking to add to the site here at BSMW, and I am hopeful you enjoy this new feature.  Justin Barrasso will be perusing the box scores of the Boston Celtics during the Larry Bird years, starting with Bird’s rookie year in 1979-1980.  The opportunity to reconnect with the Bird era is always fun, especially during his early years in the league.  We’ll be posting the box score as well as some commentary each game day as we re-visit the ’79-’80 season.  Enjoy.

Celtics vs. Rockets

October 12, 1979

Friday night – Boston Garden

The 1979-1980 season began with high hopes for the Celtics.  Fresh off the worst season in team history, the C’s had room for improvement.  They had just finished 29-53 and, with John Havlicek now two years into retirement, pinned their hopes of returning to relevance in the hands of a rookie forward from Indiana State.  The team hired a new coach in Bill Fitch, who became the first “outsider” to be named a Celtics head coach since Red Auerbach was hired twenty-nine years earlier in 1950.  In-between Red and Fitch, all of the head coaches (Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn, Satch Sanders, and Dave Cowens) were all former Celtic players (Russell and Cowens managed to do both as the player-coach, examples of Auerbach’s innovation and willingness to do whatever it took to win).

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Meterparel out at WEEI, Patriots to face 12th man

A quick post this morning, as I’m packing up and heading out for a week off…

ESPN’s Beano Cook, dead at 81, was one of a kind – Chad Finn looks at the life and career of football commentator Beano Cook, who died earlier this week in his sleep.

In that column, Finn also reports that Jon Meterparel is expected to leave WEEI shortly, though he will remain as the voice of Boston College football and basketball.

“Meter” has done the morning flashes on the Dennis and Callahan show since 2000.

Mosquitoes disrupt Friday Night Football Frenzy – Bill Doyle looks at how the threat of eastern equine encephalitis and the West Nile virus have altered the coverage of high school football on Charter TV 3.

Media roundup: Celtics’ Jeff Green drawing unfair criticism from media members – My SB Nation Media column this week looks at the coverage of Jeff Green’s contract by media and bloggers. The commentary has been a bit harsher than called for, in my opinion.

The Patriots will face old coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon (4:00, CBS) Ian Eagle (play-by-play) and Dan Fouts (analysis). This is the network’s “C” team.

Catch all the Patriots coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.

We’ll be launching a new feature this Celtics season at BSMW. Justin Barrasso has collected copies of the official box scores from Larry Bird’s seasons with the Celtics. This year, we’re going to replay Bird’s rookie season, by posting the box scores and some added media coverage and thoughts from that game, and post them each day that corresponds with that game from Bird’s rookie season of 1979-80.

The first post will be going up later today, as Bird made his Celtics debut on October 12th, 1979 against the Houston Rockets.